It takes a lot of hard work to be a musician, and even more hard work to create your own record label. But that’s exactly what Ceerouse, Thandie Dice, and Fletcher G have taken on. The trio—who make music individually and collaborate with each other—recently became music executives when they started their own record label, CasaCrouse. What started out as a way for these Ottawa-based artists to promote their music and gain exposure has turned into a fully-fledged record label that hopes to one day also represent other artists.
I sat down with CasaCrouse artists and founders Thandie Dice and Ceerouse to find out what goes in to making a record label and what’s next for CasaCrouse.
Raz Mataz Magazine (RMM): What made you decide to start your own record label, CasaCrouse?
Thandie Dice (TD): It was mostly so that we could build our own platform for making music. We were inspired by Funk Volume, who started a label and collaborated with each other to promote their own music. As artists, we want to make our music and we want to make it on our own terms.
RMM: You’ve got merchandise, a website and you’re promoting your artists and performances, but I know a lot had to happen behind the scenes before that became a reality. What goes in to starting your own label?
Ceerouse (C): For the most part, getting content. We had to get music together, shows, performances and figure out what we were going to do. You need to have content first, it’s so important.
TD: Ceerouse knows what he’s doing. He does all the mixing and tracking and had all the equipment to build a studio. We built the songs and created content—he’s right, it’s important. We also want to make sure our music is up to industry standards and that it’s something people would enjoy listening to. We don’t want to make content that makes people cringe.
RMM: It’s hard to break in to the music scene; how is CasaCrouse gaining exposure?
C: I had a push from my last album. Lately I’ve been booking shows. We performed at TDot Fest last month and did a show last week. We’re opening for Slim Jesus in December and Madchild in January.
TD: We’ve been making contacts. Ceerouse won first place in CapCity Showdown and made contact with people in Ottawa and Toronto who were doing the same thing as us but on a higher level. Mostly you need to make contacts and show what you can do so that people remember you.
C: I just enjoy meeting people of my caliber. Its refreshing.
RMM: What was it like performing at TDot Fest?
TD: Insane. Really, really cool. TDot Fest is the closing of the Canadian Urban Music Conference. There were a bunch of panels of independent labels talking about different stuff—songwriting, fashion, branding, and marketing. We got to learn different things and absorb it all! And you get to meet people who are doing the same thing you’re doing and see where they’re going.
C: It was crazy. I’ve never performed in front of so many people.
RMM: You’re based in Ottawa, how would you describe the hip hop scene here?
C: The hip hop scene has been growing recently. We’re getting more opportunities for shows coming really frequently.
TD: The scene is different here from Toronto. In Toronto you have hip hop artists constantly performing and people and artists going to watch whether they’re a fan or not. In Ottawa, people are mostly more into themselves and less interested in supporting other artists. With that mentality alone, you go to a hip hop show and there are 25 or 30 people and that’s it. If you can’t get hip hop artists to enjoy the scene in Ottawa, how will you get other people to? Ottawa could never have a Drake because the environment just isn’t here to support one.
C: I think its changing though, and the crowds are more responsive in Ottawa.
RMM: What has been the best advice you’ve been given throughout this process?
C: Make sure the content is good. Content is important.
TD: I was told, “don’t wait until your work is perfect—it’ll never be perfect.” People will be waiting for you and eventually they’ll lose interest. Don’t sit on your music. It isn’t doing anyone any good if you aren’t doing anything with it and no one is hearing it.
RMM: What is the best part of being a CasaCrouse recording artist?
C: We’re like a family.
TD: You’re never working by yourself and always have someone to bounce ideas off of.
RMM: Are you looking to represent other artists?
TD: Eventually. Right now we’re developing. I’m still developing my brand as an artist. We’re developing our music. We need to work on doing that before we take on other people. But we have a label and we will expand in the future. But we do collaborate with other artists.
RMM: What’s next for CasaCrouse?
TD: A lot.
C: 2016 is coming up.
TD: We’re releasing three albums: Ceerouse’s, my first EP and Fletcher G’s EP who is also a CasaCrouse artist. We have a music video coming out…
C: And a lot of other… surprises.
To learn more about CasaCrouse Records, Ceerouse, and Thandie Dice check out the CasaCrouse Facebook page.